Post image for Midway Planners – Hampton Inn to Be Renovated to 4 Points Sheraton

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Driving down Camino Del Rio West, the northern edge of the Midway community dominated by a hodge-podge of low-cost eateries, auto repair shops and adult entertainment venues, you may not even know the Hampton Inn, with its 208 rooms, meeting facilities and business center, is there.

That may change this fall when the Hampton emerges from a three-year renovation re-branded as a Four Points Sheraton.

Every room will be renovated, but the hotel will remain open because only 30 percent of the rooms will be removed from inventory at any time, said Victor Ravago, the hotel’s general manager and board member of the Midway Community Planning Group.

The project includes the addition of a bar and full-service restaurant. It’ll be the first cocktail service at the lodging since the 1980s, when it was known as the Lexington Hotel, Ravago said at the planning group’s monthly February meeting.

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Post image for Why hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in California.

By Nick Kirkpatrick / Washington Post / February 26, 2015

Sick, starving and dying sea lion pups are washing up on the shores of California in record numbers this year. In 2015, 940 young sea lions have turned up, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said last week — four times the number California would normally see. But why?

Experts say it’s the warm water. Scientists believe warmer coastal waters force the prey of sea lions — squid and sardines, for example — deeper beneath the ocean’s surface. Then nursing sea lion mothers must look further afield for food, leaving their pups for longer than normal. Deprived of sustenance and weakened, the pups limply wash ashore.

“The prey source is just too far away for the mothers to go out, get food and come back and wean the pups,” Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries Service told Yahoo News. Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue in Los Angeles County, said the pups are unable to dive down to get food for themselves.

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IMG_0452By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

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The word is getting out – don’t go in the water for 3 days after these current storms. And this warning has special meaning for Ocean Beach and Pt Loma surfers. For it wasn’t 2 and a half months ago that long-time surfer, Brian Ault, died from a bacterial infection he obtained while surfing in local waters after a storm.

Urban runoff has polluted coastal waters and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a general advisory telling beachgoers to avoid swimming, surfing and diving in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This is due to increased levels of bacteria, that is especially prevalent near rivers and outlets that discharge urban runoff, which can include animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation.

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Father Has Serious Head Trauma, Baby Knocked Unconscious

About 6:25 a.m. Monday – this morning – , a father and mother were walking with their 5-month old baby at Cañon Street and Catalina Boulevard when the father and child were hit by a SUV.

The father suffered serious head trauma and the baby was knocked unconscious. The mother was unhurt.

The dad, in his mid-30s was pushing the baby in a stroller when the vehicle hit them in the intersection – it was going east. He was taken to Sharp Hospital and the baby – breathing but unconscious – was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital.

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Officer Surwilo Gives ‘the Other Side of the Story’ About Jimmy Maroutis and the Police

February 27, 2015 by Source

By Lois Lane

On Wednesday February 25, Community Relations Officer David Surwilo made his usual presentation of “what’s new” at the OB Town Council meeting.

Always charming and disarming, this time he had a complaint instead of answering them:

The OB Rag had not fairly represented what happened on February 14 when it announced that a well- known-Ocean beach local (Jimmy Maroutis) had been arrested for stabbing a woman in Point Loma.

According to the police, two witnesses had identified Mr. Maroutis as the perpetrator, which precipitated the contact. The assailant had a baby stroller for his possessions, something Maroudis occasionally also uses, and this may have caused what seems to be now a condition of confusion.

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Public Safety and Pie Time at the OB Town Council

February 27, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

A Report of the OB Town Council Meeting: Wednesday, February 25

A hundred OBceans turned out to help celebrate the birthday of Gretchen Newsom, the OB Town Council President, with what we all hope will turn out to be an annual pie spectacular. In addition, there was a more serious program topic:

Safety in Ocean Beach.

Stephen Grosch provided the PowerPoint presentation outlining the OB Mainstreet Association’s efforts to turn slogans into action: “Respect OB”.

As a result, two bicycling security guards form a patrol to enhance public safety through a variety of activities. These guards are armed only with the items we all have available as private citizens: a knowledge of the law and how to report through the channels.

They deal with nuisance and quality of life issues such as drug dealing, loitering on private property, illegal lodging (sleeping in business doorways), graffiti and illegal dumping. They also interface with services for the homeless, and have been known to call the paramedics for medical emergencies.

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OB Hostel Termite Tent Merely Precautionary

February 27, 2015 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for OB Hostel Termite Tent Merely Precautionary

Those who walk by the OB Hostel this week and think the place is either wrought with bugs or hosting a perverse carnival need not worry. The owners are tenting the place as a precautionary measure to protect against termites.

“Who doesn’t have termites in San Diego?” said Maria Argyropoulos-Minos, Chief Operating Officer of USA Hostels.

“That’s pretty much the way it works. Anytime you have a house, you tent it.”

The tent has been on the iconic building for much of the week, but should be down by mid-morning on Friday.

“We just want to make sure it’s safe and secure from the little buggers and this seemed like a good time,” she said.

Argyropoulos-Minos said it is part of a number of upgrades the company is making to the place since purchasing it late last year.

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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News and Notices for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

February 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Mission Beach to Get New Lifeguard Station and Ocean Beach Doesn’t

South Mission Beach is about to get a new lifeguard station. And meanwhile, Ocean Beach continues with its own aging lifeguard tower and deteriorating restrooms. The Mission Beach Precise Planning Board was briefed on the new development at their meeting on Feb. 17. City engineer Jihad Sleiman told the group:

“The lifeguard tower was constructed in 1974 as a temporary facility. It is deteriorated, small, old and no longer serves the needs of the city lifeguards and the beach going public on this mile-long section of beach.”

He explained that the new station will have a rescue vehicle facility to store rescue craft, trucks and first-aid kits, and will also have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and a main observation tower on the third level. He called the new tower “an orientation landmark on the beach.” The total lifeguard tower replacement cost: $4.9 million. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks and be completed by summer 2016.

The main lifeguard tower in OB is from the 1980s but is in very bad condition. The restrooms are an embarrassment. Various groups have been lobbying for its replacement for a while now. Perhaps with a new city councilperson, the efforts can be rejoined.

Robb Field Skate Park Now Is 15 years Old

The OB Robb Field Skate Park turned 15 a week ago on Thursday, Feb. 19. On Feb. 19, 2000, the park opened with a celebration with more than $25,000 in prize giveaways. And it was a dedicated group of volunteers who did the fundraising and development of the iconic skate park.They worked with then-Councilman Byron Wear and his staff. Some of the key volunteers were

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Part-Time Professors Protest Full-Time Screw Job

February 26, 2015 by Staff

Ocean Beach Professor and Reader Writer at Protest at Grossmont College

Part-time professors and lecturers at college campuses get screwed full time. That’s the message of protests held across San Diego and the rest of the nation on Wednesday, February 25 that were called to raise local and national consciousness to the plight of these part-time teachers who do a lot of the teaching at centers of higher learning.

And local writer, Dave Rice, was there and reported on an event held at Grossmont College in El Cajon for the San Diego Reader. Rice wrote how these adjunct professors and part-timers “often find themselves shuttling between two or three campuses in order to pick up enough classes to eke out a living.”

Dave quoted Ian Duckles, a part-time instructor, who spoke to a gathering of more than a 100 people assembled in front of the student services building at Grossmont College.

“The position that I have is defined as a ‘temporary, part-time instructor. A full-time professor is teaching about five classes a semester. I teach seven or eight, and yet somehow I’m classified as a part-time instructor. I don’t think that accurately reflects the amount of time I spend in the classroom.”

Duckles has 4 part-time positions and it takes quite a lot of time driving back and forth between those jobs at Cuyamaca, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and USD.

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Firing a Mom Because She Wants to Breastfeed Is Sex Discrimination

February 26, 2015 by Source

Breast feedingBy Galen Sherwin, ACLU Blog of Rights

A few months ago, I posted about Angela Ames, the Nationwide Insurance worker who alleged that she was denied a place to pump breast milk when she returned to work from maternity leave. When she protested, Angela was coerced into resigning by her supervisor, who told her she should “just go home and be with your babies”.

In January, the Supreme Court sent her the same message – go home ­– rejecting her petition for a review of the dismissal of her case. The denial of her petition effectively means the end of the line for her case.

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

February 26, 2015 by Source

By Robert Reich

photo courtesy of flickr

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make? …

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Sample Ballot for March 10 Election

February 25, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Planning Board Sample Ballot for March 10 Election

Qualified Write-In Candidates Still Welcome

Here is the sample ballot for the upcoming 2015 Ocean Beach Planning Board annual election. It will be held on Tuesday, March 10th at the OB Recreation Center. Polls will be open 4-7 p.m.

The Ocean Beach Recreation Center is at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Interested candidates are still welcome to run on a write-in basis provided …

COME INSIDE TO VIEW

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

February 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extremely Slow Progress Converting to Renewables in Face of Huge Increase in CO2 Emissions: What Are the Trends?

rising sea levelsBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 3 can be found here

Parts 1 and 2 address the psychological denial mechanisms and economics behind the world’s ingrained obsession with increasing GDP rates, despite their environmentally cancerous impact. Naturally, developing countries want the same material benefits from boundless GDP growth and unlimited resource development that advanced countries have long been exploiting.

This abets the idea that, as long as people make money from despoiling the atmosphere and climate, the Market should have its free reins forever. The Market is assumed to be the best arbiter of our planet’s ecological stability, but that is patently false. In reality, the Market exploits the environment and now it is becoming clear that increasing population and economic growth fueled by fossil fuels do so as well.

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A Close Encounter With a Coyote at Laguna Ojo de Liebre

February 25, 2015 by Source

imageBy Lori Saldaña

The moon was waning that night at Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and clouds from a freakishly warm winter storm still blocked the stars. The sunset was beautiful, but all day heavy rain had fallen in towns near the camp: roads near Vizcaino were flooded, Ejido Benito Juarez had mud running through its streets. Yet here at the water’s edge, only a few drops had made it to the ground.

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President Obama: “Je suis Eddie Snowden”

February 24, 2015 by Source

Obama carto je suis

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Vacation Rentals Roil Beach Neighbors – Issue to Be Taken Up by City Council

February 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Councilwoman Zapf to Hold Hearings in April

Neighbors of some housing units that are used as vacation rentals in the beach areas are upset. And the new city councilwoman for the district is getting an earful from residents in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Her office has received multiple complaints from constituents about beach homeowners who have made their homes into full-time rentals and their unruly visitors.

Not coincidentally, PB and Mission Beach are the 2 neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of Airbnb rentals. Zapf told the Voice of San Diego that she heard the concerns of residents at a recent PB town council meeting almost “near tears” in accounts of the “constant rotation of people coming and going”.

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OB Town Council Meeting on Public Safety – Wed., Feb. 25

February 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The February public meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council will focus on public safety with a number of community groups set to address issues such as watching out for another and creating a neighborhood watch group.

The meeting – as usual – will be held this Wednesday, February 25, in the Masonic Center- 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

President Gretchen Newsom will gavel the meeting to order at 7 pm.

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The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

February 24, 2015 by Doug Porter

end is near

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

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Can Eve Get Elected?

February 24, 2015 by Source

We do not need a gun-toting warrior with a vagina

By Dr. Carol Carnes

The Sirens and Ulysses, 1837 By painter William Etty

You may know her as Hillary or Carly or Elizabeth but her real name is Eve. All women carry that label in the subjective realm of our collective unconscious.

The allegorical tale of Adam and Eve has been misinterpreted, misunderstood and accepted as an irrefutable condemnation of the Feminine, which has resulted in the subjugation of women in almost every culture on earth. The rights of women were not included in the founding documents of America because we were considered creatures, not full humans.

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Have You Been To a Foreign Country In the Past Few Weeks?

February 24, 2015 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Sundog_looking_east[1]That seems to be the question everyone is asking since the Ebola epidemic started affecting people in the United States. My usual answer would be “no” but I now have changed that and say, “I’ve been to North Dakota in the past few weeks. Does that count?”

It’s obvious that I know that North Dakota is not a “foreign country” in the true sense of the meaning, but I’ve learned so much about the State that was foreign to me before.

How many of you know what a “sun dog” is? Living in San Diego my dog is frequently in the sun, but that’s not what is meant in North Dakota – and other communities nearby.

Sun dogs are an atmospheric phenomenon caused by the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals such as those hosted in cirrus clouds. A number of specific conditions must prevail for this phenomenon to form: the sun must be in the sky, usually less than 45 degrees from the horizon, and in the same horizontal plane as the viewer.

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OB Time: Going Legal After 50 Years

February 23, 2015 by Source
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The Ol’ OB Hippie Writes

I’m finally going legal after 50 years – or at least almost 50 years. I started smoking pot when I was a freshman in college. And I still smoke – but the other day, I went legal and obtained my medical marijuana card, and now I can smoke legally for the first time in a half century. And god I need it – for all my genuine ailments, from chronic back pain to insomnia to other problems whose symptoms are relieved by the inhalation of the medicinal gift from nature.

Actually my very first joint was during my first year’s Christmas break – I was going to college on the East Coast and had flown home for the 2 week break. Pot smoking literally exploded here in OB and Point Loma in 1966-67. It blew up in OB. And of course, PLHS was called “Pot Loma” after that large bust behind the church – I think – in 1968. Plus we all thought it would be legal by 1976. Seriously.

Of course over the decades, I’ve had to rely on the black market for my weed. Pot is a funny thing – first you smoke it and hide it from your parents, then later, you smoke it and hide it from your kids.

But – yea! – I’m finally legal.

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Judi Curry: Host to 413 Foreign Exchange Students Over 23 Years

February 23, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Judi Curry: Host to 413 Foreign Exchange Students Over 23 Years

Our own Judi Curry, who writes a column here on the OB Rag as “The Widder Curry” has finally received some attention that’s due her.

As a host to foreign exchange students since 1992, Judi has had 413 of these foreign students in her home.

The local CBS News affiliate found her recently. Their reporter Abbie Alford interviewed Judi …

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A Call to Action on the Labor Crisis in Higher Ed: Colleges Are Running On the Backs of Underpaid Part-Timers

February 23, 2015 by Jim Miller

February 25th is National Adjunct Walkout Day

national-adjunct-day-posterBy Jim Miller

As I have noted here recently, the successful assault on public sector unionism has marched hand in hand with the surge of income inequality and the erosion of the American middle class. Of course, central to this is the ongoing war on teachers’ unions and the nationwide trend toward austerity budgets in state capitols across the country.

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Chargers Give San Diego the One-Finger Salute

February 20, 2015 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The drama surrounding the San Diego Chargers’ pursuit of a stadium–somewhere, anywhere–is turning out to be much more entertaining than much of the action on the field in recent years. Today I’ll look around at what’s been said and do my best to provide some insight.

Yesterday the team let it slip–as a story in the Los Angeles Times was going to press–that they were working on a joint stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders for a facility in Carson, California, a city of less than 100,000 people with a history of shady dealings.

The coverage at ESPN included a nugget from an unidentified source saying the teams had been working together on this deal for the past nine months. The Chargers, by the way, denied inquiries from the St. Louis media about a deal in LA just a few weeks back.

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Labor and the Democratic Party at Point Loma Assembly – Feb. 22nd

February 20, 2015 by Staff

richard Barrera2“Labor and the Democratic Party” is the focus of this month’s meeting of the Point Loma Democratic Club. The speakers for the event include Richard Barrera, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO at San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, and Daraka Larimore-Hall, Secretary of the California Democratic Party and Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Labor Caucus.

The speakers will discuss historical and contemporary ties between the party and the labor movement and conclude by talking practically about how to be a labor activist without being anti-Party and a Democrat without ever being anti-labor.

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Historic Cottages of Ocean Beach on Display – Photo Gallery

February 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Historian Kathy Blavatt and cottage-renovators Jane and Tom Gawronski gave their presentation on the historic cottages of Ocean Beach last night at the OB Historical Society’s standing-room-only monthly event.

With a great slideshow riveting the audience, Kathy led the crowd through a visual display of the wonderful cottages of the village. Many of them have taken advantage of the Mills Act – (and there is more info on it at the OB Historical Society’s website). The Mills Act gives tax advantages to home owners who are able to quality their houses as historic. The historic nature involves the exterior of the house.

Here, what follows, is a photo gallery of the slideshow

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‘Some Things Never Change’- Point Loma’s Perry’s Café

February 20, 2015 by Judi Curry
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Restaurant Review

“Perry’s Café”
4610 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92110
619-291-7121

It has been years since I have had breakfast at Perry’s. It was a place that my husband and I used to go to frequently and always enjoyed the meals we had there. However, since he passed away, I find it difficult to frequent those places that we patronized, because it always brings back memories that I would just as soon forget.

However, one of the members of my widow support group – Ro – had a birthday today that we wanted to celebrate, and she chose “Perry’s” as the place she would like to go. Interesting enough, all of us had been there with our spouses, with the exception of Candy. We asked the very nice waitress when Perry’s opened, …

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